Because he was drafted by the Orioles and because the club respects his work ethic and knows him as a person, he's worth more to Baltimore than anybody else.
Just like Cal Ripken is worth more to the Orioles than anybody else, just like Don Mattingly is worth more to the Yankees than he is to anybody else, just like Kirby Puckett means more to the Minnesota Twins than any other team.
The relationship is worth something extra.
It's just that the Orioles won't pay him $5 million a year.
Bill Swift, who drew interest from the Orioles in the off-season before signing with Colorado, is having a terrible year, and now he has shoulder problems.
It should be recalled that back in February, Orioles manager Phil Regan said that given a choice between free agents Swift and Brown, he would choose Brown because of durability. Good choice.
Mondesi seen as special
The Dodgers think they have a superstar on their hands in right fielder Raul Mondesi.
"The talent is so exceptional that no one can help but notice," said Los Angeles general manager Fred Claire. "You see things from him that you just don't see from other players. Those kinds of players just don't walk onto the field that often."
The Red Sox embraced Ron Mahay, a former replacement player, when he was called up back in May. But the San Francisco Giants gave a cold shoulder to Joel Chimelis, a former replacement player called up last week for two days.
The San Francisco players held a team meeting -- without Chimelis, of course -- to discuss his presence, and sent a small delegation of players to the offices of general manager Bob Quinn and owner Peter Magowan and protested the promotion. Chimelis was sent back down.
"Let's just say things are back in order now," said Giants outfielder Mark Carreon. "I never associated with a replacement player, and I wasn't about to. A lot of us made sacrifices for eight months."
Barry Bonds was part of the delegation that met with Magowan. Maybe he should worry more about chasing after fly balls and running even when he hits what he thinks are home runs than who was or who wasn't a replacement player.
Hill smooths out comments
Cardinals right-hander Ken Hill, acquired from the Expos in the spring, was quoted in Montreal newspapers this week saying that he didn't expect to be back in St. Louis next year, that he may be traded to a contender this year, and that he didn't think catcher Tom Pagnozzi knew how to call a good game.
Pagnozzi, naturally, was somewhat put off, and Hill did some backtracking. "All I was saying," Hill said, "was that with the Expos, the catcher and I were always on the same wavelength."
Hill later met with Pagnozzi and manager Joe Torre and asked that the catcher move around more behind the plate.
Erickson's mistakes costly?
Milwaukee center fielder Darryl Hamilton on the Twins' enigmatic Erickson, who is being looked at by the Orioles: "He's one of those mystery guys, where he has good stuff, but if he makes one or two mistakes, it usually costs him a game. Normally a pitcher can make a couple of mistakes, and it won't really hurt him. But he's been like this for the last few years.
"He makes a couple of mistakes, and it's like he can't recover. And he's got good stuff, believe me."
Hurting the Big Hurt
Chicago first baseman Frank Thomas says he's sick of being pitched around.
"This [stuff] is becoming boring," he said after being walked three times by the Blue Jays on Wednesday. "This is getting old. Anyone can go up there and leave the bat on their shoulder four times. How can you stay focused when that happens?
"This is trash. This shouldn't happen in the big leagues. No one player is that dangerous. No one."
Thomas should blame his owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, who refused to re-sign Julio Franco for the big money he earned for hitting cleanup and protecting the Big Hurt in the lineup.
Around the horn
* Since being ripped by Oakland manager Tony La Russa, right fielder Ruben Sierra is playing exceptionally.
* Cincinnati's bullpen went from May 4 to June 7 without blowing a lead or a tie score.
* Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell, the 1994 NL MVP, is beginning to see progress as he works his way out of his terrible slump. "I'm starting to get that feeling like I had in '94," Bagwell said. "I feel when a pitcher makes a mistake, I can take advantage of it."
* Marquis Grissom, who had hoped to sign a multi-year deal worth about $6 million a year, was replaced in the leadoff spot in the Atlanta batting order this week by Boys' Latin's Brian Kowitz, earning $109,000. Because of his awful start, Grissom will be lucky to get a contract for more than two years.
* Among those potential base-stealers thrown out by Marlins catcher Charles Johnson last year: Delino DeShields, Darren Lewis, Lenny Dykstra, Moises Alou, Roberto Kelly and Brian McRae. About the only good thing one can say about Florida this season.